As the curtain prepared to close on NightQuarter’s farewell evening at the Helensvale premises, their loyal patrons dropped in en masse from all corners of the coast to see UB40 perform their 40th Anniversary Tour.
Gold Coast local Bobby Alu set the beat early by getting the crowd warmed up. Accompanied by Paul Bromley on Bass and Declan Kelly on drums, the island vibe tone was set with a reggae style rendition of ‘Ring of Fire’, new single ‘’ and a hypnotising dance performance by Bobby’s Mum, a former professional Polynesian dancer who wove across the stage in perfect unison to his music.
After being treated to more reggae beats while the roadies got to work the crowd were sufficiently relaxed Rasta style by the time UB40 featuring Ali Campbell and Astro reaches the stage. Supported by a 9-piece band (with an incredible horn section), the party kicked up a notch with ‘Just Another Girl’ from ‘A Labor of Love II’ and ‘She Loves me Now’ from ‘A Real Labor of Love’. It certainly launched the love fest in the room.
In an attempt to get closer to the rhythm section up front I joined a passing lady conga line which only got as far as three steps and a tap to a party precinct in the middle singing and swaying to ‘Cherry O Baby’, followed by another big hit ‘Kingston Town’, highlighting Ali Campbell’s amazing vocals. Tracks from their newest albums such as ‘Silhouette’ and ‘Fijian Sunset’ were also well received by the crowd.
The brilliant harmonies from Ali and Astro plus the newer members were delivered straight to the heart, soul and feet of the audience and the musicianship was spot on. The party continued with a rendition of ‘Many Rivers to Cross’, the UB40 original ‘Rat in Mi Kitchen’ (which inspired some interesting dance moves from the Grab a Spliff section of the audience).
The band left the stage after a mighty fine time to the cheers of more – of course there was always going to be an encore. The drummer led them back to the warmth of the stage with a pulsing drum solo followed by ‘Food for Thought’. Of course they left the audience in reggae raptures with the last two songs ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love With You’ and ‘Red Red Wine’.
If you’re thinking of going to see UB40 on their 40th anniversary tour, don’t hesitate
A special thank you to Michelle, Ian and all the staff at NightQuarter for bringing the joy of live music to the Gold Coast, we look forward to dancing and singing with you at your new location.
Images (c) Simone Gorman-Clark